When the Washington Football Team receives the New York Giants on Thursday for the first Thursday Night Football of the new NFL season, running back Antonio Gibson will probably be there. Other playmakers, especially two well-known newcomers in whom one had high hopes, have to pass, however. Washington’s questionable offensive is facing serious problems early on in the NFL season. Again, some fans may complain. Who could solve this? Exactly, Antonio Gibson!
When you watch Antonio Gibson play football, you quickly notice a certain ease with which the 23-year-old moves across the green grass fields of the NFL. His steps seem effortless, he literally glides through the turmoil on the line of scrimmage, even extreme cuts that others don’t even try appear natural. That lightness, according to the running back of the Washington Football Team, has its roots in his sporting past, back when he was still making the hashmarks uncertain as a wide receiver.
In high school and even at his first university station, the small East Central Community College, Gibson sat with the receivers in the video room, cramming route trees and how to overcome press coverage. It is precisely these experiences that benefit him today, he says. “I got my finesse from my time as a wide receiver,” said the young offensive player. “Back then it was mostly one-on-one, I always had to make room for myself in the open field and get away from an opponent. I brought these instincts to the NFL.”
Washington Football Team is confirmed Antonio Gibson
His opponents can tell you a thing or two about it when they regularly reach into the empty air, where Antonio Gibson stood a millisecond ago. The back, which is relatively large for its position and slightly light, still looks a bit reminiscent of a receiver, but is noticeably internalizing its position, which is no longer so new. What bad news is for the NFL and good news for the Washington Football team. They are also confirmation of what they saw in Antonio Gibson last year when they got him in the third round of the NFL Draft.
They didn’t really have a lot of tape from him as running back, because at the Memphis Tigers, to which Gibson switched in 2018, he was more convincing in another role. Thanks to his return skills, he was voted the best Special Teams player of the American Athletic Conference and at the same time earned a place in the All-AAC second team as a receiver. Head coach Mike Norvell gave him the ball in various positions, including in the backfield.
Ex-receiver Antonio Gibson is thriving thanks to his athleticism
“His speed is extreme,” remembers the current Florida State University coach of the time when Gibson himself got a lot of carry for Memphis along with four future NFL backs. “He’s explosive, difficult to get down and has a nose for operating in small spaces. In short, he’s a game changer.” Wide receiver, return specialist, game changer, running back … Antonio Gibson’s resume is slowly getting tight in the line for the job. But above all, it is also one thing for the Washington Football Team: a weapon.
In fact, one of his nicknames is also “Weapon”, he even immortalized it on the back of a silver chain. He wants to become a key player in the system of the former Redskins this season, who like few other teams long for offensive explosiveness. Ron Rivera’s defense is one of the best in the league, and many in the NFL tremble when they hear names like Chase Young, Montez Sweat or Jonathan Allen. In order to focus more on balance, the football team had just made offensives in the summer, but many of the aggressive plans are currently being thwarted.
Washington football team with some injury concerns
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was injured in the 16:20 opening loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and will spend several weeks on the injured list with a hip injury. There he finds himself next to Curtis Samuel, who had to say goodbye to the early phase of the season a few days ago due to a protracted groin injury. The two most prominent offensive newcomers to the WFT are sitting on the sidelines. Antonio Gibson is likely to move into the limelight all the more.
In terms of sport, it’s exactly what he wants. Last year as a rookie he had a strong season, developed steadily as a running back and delivered three touchdowns to thankgiving against the Dallas Cowboysa highlight that is particularly popular in the capital. But “AG” wants more. “I didn’t think my rookie year was that special,” says Washington’s youngster confidently. “I think I could crack 2000 scrimmage yards in the new season.”
Antonio Gibson with potential key role on Thursday Night Football
With this self-confidence, Gibson seems ready for the next challenge, in which, despite a slight shoulder injury, he has to take on so many loads in Washington’s attack. It will probably start on Thursday Night Football, where backup Taylor Heinicke will lead the team as the signal caller and will probably limit the playcalling in a certain way. But Antonio Gibson has always known about challenges.
As a child, his father withdrew almost completely from his life and his single mother had to do three jobs at times to support the family. One of them was in the Middle East for several years, in “some war zone,” says Gibson. During this time, his older sister takes care of the fifth grader, gives him everything she can, but is unable to fill some of the gaps. Above all, the young Antonio lacks a father figure, who often searches the stands at his high school games to see if his dad isn’t watching.
Antonio Gibson takes mental problems by the horns
Today he finds him in the stands now and then, the relationship has stabilized somewhat with the start of his NFL career. Gibson became a father himself for the first time that year, which temporarily overwhelmed the NFL star in the wake of the pandemic, a particularly difficult turf toe for running backs from last season and the death of his beloved grandmother. The world turned too fast for a few months. Gibson admits to having been mentally troubled during this time. But when he held his daughter in his arms, that changed everything. “I knew then that I had to work on myself and get well,” says the young father of the difficult time.
Regardless of whether he is holding his daughter or the football for his team in his hands, whether as a classic running back or here and there on the outside again, Antonio Gibson seems to be ready for the upcoming tasks. The Washington Football Team and himself are just at the beginning of a development that will end in the optimal exploitation of Gibson’s playful potential. It will be a path that will still present many difficulties for everyone involved.
Or maybe Antonio Gibson will make it look easy again.